Monday, December 22, 2008

"When my heart finds Christmas"

When my heart registers that Christmastime is in fact approaching I feel inside such release. Ah! At last, the time to spoil the ones I love the way I want and they cannot chide me or avoid me. All the items I have hidden away for months are wrapped and beribboned and presented with a grin.

It is such a treat for me to find something that suits a friend or family member - and surprises them as a bonus! I simply want them to see that I have paid attention to them and thought about them all year, whether we were together or not. I simply want them to see that they make my days sparkle whether it is January, June or December. This year, having begun to blog, I also hold in my heart people around the world - Canada, France, Belgium - and around the country.

This feeling recognizes no borders.

It is a sweet, sweet thought to know so many hearts will focus on the light of love in the world during this season. The miracle is ours. Let's take it and spread it - every day.

Blessings of peace and joy to all of you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

To Dream

"To die, to sleep - no more - and by a sleep to say we end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep - to sleep - perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.
"Hamlet Prince of Denmark", Act III Sc. i
William Shakespeare

Must give us pause.

Pause I have done often of late as a confluence of events have brought to m
ind and heart memories of dear ones who have shuffled off their mortal coil. First, the celebration of Dia de los Muertes when, among other observances, I set a place for them at my table. So many meals I shared with them: delicious food and drink and wit whose taste is a loving feast for my mind and heart. Thanksgiving Day is nearly upon us and I cannot help but think of them with a bit of sorrow, but moreso with a great feeling of gratitude that they lived, that they chose to be and that we were blessed to be together. I have also been unpacking belongings in my new home, discovering anew the gifts and memories they bestowed.

Some passed on after long lives with all the attendant achievements and respect 'of so long life', yet it was still a natural shock to have them go. Many of these dear ones were taken so suddenly, so unexpectedly about ten or eleven years ago that I still reel, especially at times like these. In the early days after their passings I found it hard to 'bear the whips and scorns of time' taking them before any of us felt they should go.

Slowly, slowly, in bits and pieces Prince Hamlet's existential soliloquy seeped into my thoughts: 'To die, to sleep - to sleep - perchance to dream'. "They did not have to die to dream," I began to argue in my mind.
"Nobody has to die - to sleep - to dream!" I don't know whether it was my inherent insistence upon using my own mind or the heartfelt encouragement of all those dear ones who have gone before me, but that argument took root in my heart and sent up its shoots. I listened.

I listen still. I follow that assertion: ""Nobody has to die - to sleep - to dream." That hidden root has blossomed into a surety that following one's dreams is the route to take To Be.

"Be yourself, it's all that you can do." (Chris Cornell)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ancestral Spirits

When I saw the icons for Bloglandia, Dia de los Muertes, I knew I had to add my little something. As a little girl I remember climbing the stairs in my grandparents' farmhouse, against my grandmother's wishes, and just sitting in the attic among the memories . The windows were that old imperfect glass with bubbles and ripples, and I loved sitting there among the dust-bunnies, wondering about the people who came before me. Since I became a mother I would look at my sons and think about the memories their lives would make for someone someday. I am heartened, and humbled, when I think of the people who link me to the past and to the future, the ancestral spirits and the children. Slainte.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

small things

I've been thinking lately of small things - not petty, mean things, but things of no great matter. These things are not burdened by, nor do they burden anyone with, a great weight. They are light and quick, soft and swift. Catch them if you can.

This contemplation of small things arose after I saw a stunning photo of an Easter lily. Personally I prefer day lilies, but this close-up shot made me wish my world could fit in the bowl of that blossom. In my own forays into photography I have experienced the quiet thrill of capturing a hummingbird perched on the stem of a hosta's bloom, and tracking a busy, pollen-laden bumblebee from bloom to bloom.

Perhaps the sweetest 'little' surprise and pleasure in my world was a moment I could only enjoy, not capture (yet) in any photograph. It will remain ephemeral. On our way to a restaurant in Madison after a busy day in Atlanta my husband spied an errant bubble floating past us down the sidewalk. A toy store on one corner of the street has a bubble-making machine mounted outside and one of those iridescent spheres became our guide for a few yards.

I watched it float and bob along on the air currents I could not feel. I held my breath when it approached some potential hazard. I wanted it to float for as long as possible. It did, and evaporated in a blink without meeting any obstacles along its path.

More and more I will look for the small things, the light things to show me the way - the whisper in the crowded room, the moonlight sparkling on the dew before dawn, the bumblebee wallowing in a blossom, the little girl wearing ruby slippers to the grocery store.

Is this what Blake meant by seeing the world in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour? Maybe so. All I know is that when I contemplate these little bits of life I feel, inside, connected to the world.

This is no small matter.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Scuse me while I touch the sky

This isn't the usual sort of post I thought I'd want to write, but I don't think the photos would make as much sense without this. Oh, they look fine on their own, but before I move on from Augusta I want to share why my heart wanted to shoot these particular signs.

I don't talk about it much, if at all, but at the beginning and for a very long time life for me here in Augusta was not pretty. It was pretty painful. Moving is nothing new to me, but my experience here was unprecedented. Despite all the times (12) I had moved and thrived Augusta has been the place that shut itself off from me for a long while, as if it did not want me to feel at home here. Somehow, somehow, even the familiar things like Target and Lowe's and Barnes and Noble felt alien and closed to me.

I mean, come on! Those places are familiarity personified. Except they weren't.

Time after time I felt that even though I was trying my best to pay attention and watch what I was doing, I still managed to find that one imperceptible metaphorical crack in the sidewalk and trip over it to fall smack on my butt.

More than once I wondered why I should even presume to want to make a home here. The place was rather intent on reminding me I was 'alien'. Sometimes a tiny part of me would question if this was a not so subtle nudge from the universe, perhaps, to put aside those 'alien' ways.

After a number of 'trips' when I'd lie sprawling on the sidewalk, the wind knocked out of me, I finally got the idea that maybe the universe was acting like that boy in middle school who used to bean me over the head with his spelling book. My parents told me it was because he liked me, to which I said, 'Yeah, right.' I thought I might revisit this concept in light of my circumstances so I picked myself up from the sidewalk and went off to think.

If this was not a nudge from the universe to change my ways, what was it? If this was like the tactics of a middle-schooler with a slight crush, why take action in a place that felt so alien?

Here's the thing about being a stranger in a strange land: I always have myself. I came to see my time here as a license to really just dig in and get to know myself. This was my chance to really look at myself as Barbara in relationship to Barbara, no one else - not my spouse, my children, family, friends, co-workers. Barbara. Just Barbara.

So, I guess I must say that after the stumbling and the tumbling, the pain and the tears in the middle of so many nights, I made it to the heart of the matter.

It feels so good to make that 'victory leap' and touch a piece of the sky. Now, as I finish this post, I find myself thinking that maybe the universe was just letting me know it was glad it finally found someone to play with here. Maybe it was just glad to get someone's attention.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Before the month is out I will be moving on to the big city, Atlanta to be precise, starting another phase of life. An ending is implied with all beginnings, I think, so this seems like a good moment to take stock and share a few images of Augusta that I will treasure. Oddly enough many of the images for this post are of vacant buildings, but I look at them and wonder what stories were lived within them and what stories might still come to life within their walls.

This vacant restaurant looks so much like an Irish pub to me. The day I shot these pictures wasamazingly bright and hot and imagining the taste of a cool pint of Guinness in its shady interior was rather mouthwatering!

I'll post some other shots of Augusta soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


After I saw the brilliant sky in Brian C.'s post on Sept. 25 I went in search of blues.

For one thing I found a DVD of Carlos Santana playing blues live at Montreux in 2004, a pleasant find I am still savoring. It is rather interesting I think that a girl like me, born and raised in the midwest, could be so stirred by music identified with the southern delta.

I remembered these photos taken nearly three years ago along the Augusta canal with a little Canon PowerShot A510. One of the shots provided the model for a somewhat abstract painting, but all of them nourish my affection for BLUE.

They also nourish my affection for water. Since I left home in Central Ohio I have lived in places where I could visit the water at whim - Lake Michigan, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Puget Sound, the James and the Savannah Rivers.

So often, when I lived in Williamsburg, VA, I would pack up my books and notes and a sack lunch, head for the Colonial Parkway, and sit by the James River to 'work.' Something about the H2O just makes the creativity flow, you know - like it did for Churchill in the bath and for many of us creative types in the shower!

That's the best part - when the Creative strikes out of the blue and the ideas flow like a sweet, slow river.